+ ++ New report highlights dismal treatment of women workers in restaurant industry | Latina Lista
Causes

New report highlights dismal treatment of women workers in restaurant industry

New report highlights dismal treatment of women workers in restaurant industry

LatinaLista — Valentine's Day is the busiest day of the year in the restaurant industry. It's a day when diners will be trying to show their love and affection for their special someone by ordering the best money can buy. Yet, ironically, it's also a day that highlights how no love is lost when it comes to wages and treatment between the restaurant industry and the people who comprise over half of its workforce — women.

A new report released today by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) titled "Tipped Over the Edge — Gender Inequity in the Restaurant Industry," reveals that women working in the restaurant industry face a variety of factors that contribute to them living a hand-to-mouth existence.

According to the report, women comprise 54 percent of the 10.1 million restaurant workers in the nation — 17 percent of female restaurant workers are Latina, 11 percent are African American, 5 percent are Asian, and 66 percent are white — and yet they are more likely to face systematic discrimination, suffer from poverty wages and are more susceptible to sexual harassment than women working in any other industry.

While discrimination exists, for example, women are mostly confined to the lower-paying segments of the industry such as quick-serve and family style dining rather than the highest-paying fine dining segment, it's the discrimination in wages that are proving most harmful.

The restaurant industry is one of the only sectors in which predominately male positions have a different minimum wage than predominately female positions: non-tipped workers (52 percent male) have a federal minimum wage of $7.25, while tipped workers (66 percent female) have a federal subminimum wage of $2.13

The federal subminimum wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 since 1991, losing 40 percent of its value in real terms. Employers are allowed by law to pay $2.13 per hour to tipped employees as long as tips make up the difference between $2.13 and $7.25.

However, survey and interview data gathered by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) indicate that employers frequently ignore this requirement. Servers, who are 71 percent female, comprise the largest group of all tipped workers, and experience almost three times the poverty rate of the workforce as a whole.

Adding insult to injury, women in the restaurant industry are more than five times the rate for the general female workforce to report sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Also, 90 percent of restaurant workers report not receiving health benefits or employer-paid sick days. In fact, "two–thirds reported having to cook, prepare, and/or serve food while sick because they could not afford to take unpaid time off."

The report's authors offer several policy solutions to not only correct this inequity but bring justice to women who may feel trapped in their present circumstances either because of lack of skills, education or other available employment opportunities. Among their policy recommendations are:

  • Raise and index the federal minimum wage for tipped workers
  • Establish a national standard that allows workers to earn seven to nine job-protected paid sick days each year to be used to recover from routine illness, access preventive care or provide care for a sick family member.
  • Adopt legislation that would provide incentives or mandate employers to provide regular, on-going sexual harassment training to all their employees, including managers.
  • Initiate and support further study and dialogue on discrimination.
View Comments (1)

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Equal Pay Day: A Joint Blog Carnival With National Women’s Law Center « MomsRising Blog

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Causes

More in Causes

2_462_ca66b9ec-7bf0-43b2-b6ad-7047e3037dc5

Crowdfunder: Four Friends, One Mission — Bringing Clean Water to Latin American Families

Latina ListaJanuary 5, 2016
2_455_7f555b5d-229f-44f3-8008-ba25a3c29d48

Crowdfunder: Creating a non-profit jiu jitsu & boxing program for at-risk kids

Latina ListaDecember 21, 2015
2_448_359da149-444f-4bf2-bf46-6bb69041e851

Crowdfunder: Reconnecting indigenous artifacts with their rightful owners

Latina ListaDecember 17, 2015
2_444_5bd43401-b010-4adc-881e-b04c028635ea

Crowdfunder: Striking the right chord with disadvantaged youth

Latina ListaDecember 16, 2015
2_439_4c4e3772-3dfe-4071-901c-117688fdd817

Crowdfunder: LURUCHA: An original children’s tale to fund a one-of-a-kind school in Peru

Latina ListaDecember 15, 2015
2_434_edf446e6-027e-4749-af26-53be4f0d94ab

Crowdfunder: Introducing the world to the new Cuba Libre!

Latina ListaDecember 10, 2015
2_429_463140fc-4061-400e-bf14-49f08291f6a9

Crowdfunder: Making second chances a sweet success for disadvantaged workers

Latina ListaDecember 9, 2015
2_425_3176a3bd-7a8d-4709-b7d8-0e077729e33a

Crowdfunder: Telling the story of a clinic of the people, for the people and a seed for change in communities across the USA

Latina ListaDecember 8, 2015
2_419_41541324-3d15-4c4f-b3a2-b6b246cf052f

Crowdfunder: Giving artists the space and “print” to stir public opinion

Latina ListaDecember 7, 2015